‘Quick-acting’ gamekeepers praised for tackling croft fire

The blaze broke out close to where last year’s devastating wildfires were in Sutherland.

‘Quick-acting’ gamekeepers praised for tackling croft fire SGA Media
Fire: The blaze on Tuesday night.

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association has praised quick-acting gamekeepers for helping bring a croft fire under control on Tuesday.

The blaze broke out close to the area last year’s devastating wildfire started in Sutherland.

Gamekeepers from Bighouse, Skelpic, Achentoul and Shurrery estates acted swiftly after spotting smoke rising from whin bushes on a nearby croft.

They were able to use leaf blowing equipment and fire beaters to stop the blaze spreading while staff from Bighouse estate co-ordinated the initial response with help from the local community.

Flames from whins fanned out onto rank heather in wind and, without timely intervention, could have caused more serious damage.

Their fire management skills helped to control the blaze, with fire engines from Dornoch traveling under blue light to assist the local fire crew, gamekeepers and the residents.

Last November, a fire which burnt for six days in the area was estimated to have released the equivalent of six days of Scotland’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Wildfire: A gamekeeper fighting the blaze in Sutherland.
Wildfire: A gamekeeper fighting the blaze in Sutherland.

Scottish Gamekeepers Association chairman Alex Hogg said: “Well done to the fire crews, residents and the gamekeepers for their swift actions, especially as this was nothing to do with the gamekeepers’ estates.

“Last Wednesday, when Green MSP Andy Wightman’s amendment to the Coronavirus Bill at Holyrood outlawed muirburn during the lockdown, we said that SGA members would still answer the call to help the frontline services at wildfires, utilising their skills and equipment for public good at this time.

“They put their own personal safety aside to turn out, as they have often done.

“We are pleased to work closely with the fire service and reiterate that our members will assist, wherever required.”

The fire service were not called to any Scottish grouse muirburn fires this season, prior to the activity being suspended during the lockdown period.